GDC 2011: Limbo's Puzzle Creator Is Your Enemy

GDC 2011: Limbo's Puzzle Creator Is Your Enemy

One of the nicest things you could to do Jeppe Carlsen, who helped design Limbo's puzzles, is tell him you want to slap him in the face.

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That's just why I loved Limbo's puzzles. Simple, challenging, and they force you to think outside the box.

If I had XBL, I would get Limbo.
It looks pretty cool. :|

Personally it just made me want to buy a better game by a competent designer. A good puzzle is one you will definitely solve first time if you put enough thought into it. A bad puzzle is one that you fail and fail until the only solution left works.

Rack:
Personally it just made me want to buy a better game by a competent designer. A good puzzle is one you will definitely solve first time if you put enough thought into it. A bad puzzle is one that you fail and fail until the only solution left works.

I agree, a good example of this is the 4th boss of super meat boy.. aslthough that's not really a puzzle, but still it's exactly the sype of design you don't want in your game.

Rack:
Personally it just made me want to buy a better game by a competent designer. A good puzzle is one you will definitely solve first time if you put enough thought into it. A bad puzzle is one that you fail and fail until the only solution left works.

qeinar:

Rack:
Personally it just made me want to buy a better game by a competent designer. A good puzzle is one you will definitely solve first time if you put enough thought into it. A bad puzzle is one that you fail and fail until the only solution left works.

I agree, a good example of this is the 4th boss of super meat boy.. aslthough that's not really a puzzle, but still it's exactly the sype of design you don't want in your game.

From what i've seen of the game you can still pass the puzzles first time if you think about it.

...I like this guy, and approve of his design philosophies. It's nice to hear something other than how to make the game easy, or how to make the game hard, and actually hear them trying to make it challenging. There is a difference between challenging and hard, I think they did a good job getting it to suit the former.

Susan Arendt:
Limbo's Puzzle Creator Is Your Enemy

One of the nicest things you could to do Jeppe Carlsen, who helped design Limbo's puzzles, is tell him you want to slap him in the face.

Read Full Article

And, like Portal, the game does this in a relatively short game experience that doesn't overstay its welcome. Limbo is a masterclass in making something simple and engaging.

I might inquire about the claim that he had "no design experience." In this case, I'd wager they mean videogame design experience. I'd love to know more about his experience with other types of games, and whether he has ever designed/adapted/tweaked tabletop, board games, or any other game format. I think we can sometimes underestimate the impact this type of experience can have on the "gaming mind."

And, in many cases, I think that's a good thing when it comes to finding fresh perspectives! If someone is too used to working exclusively with videogames, it's possible that they can become limited by the medium. They may start to think from a technical standpoint, and pre-reject ideas based on whether or not this-or-that technology is available (or worse, based on what sold/didn't sell previously).

I think we can forget sometimes that videogames are games, akin to board games, card games, pen-and-paper RPGs, and freeze tag. Games have rules, goals, obstacles, an "interface" (even if that just means "a deck of cards" or "two legs"), but most importantly players. The technical demands of videogame design can sometimes result in games that seem far too focused on the interface and the behind-the-scenes rules. In the end, that sometimes can be like thinking a card game can be improved by having a fancier design on the deck.

What I think of as "player metacognition" (the ability to think about how players think) is probably the most valuable skill a game designer in any medium can have, and that can be built in any realm. Limbo put it to very good use, and I'm glad to see them enjoying success and spotlight for it.

I think what I loved most about Limbo's puzzles was how they were challenging and punishing but at the same time leniant in that though you might die 20 times trying to solve a puzzle they checkpoints are so close together than it hardly matters.

I think my favorite puzzle in gaming was the God of War III garden. The one with Hera and the perspective based optical illusions. Now that was a damn good puzzle.

This is a good strategy to take in moderation, but it could lead to things such as, say, I Wanna Be The Guy, which is only ever fun as a game once. I think they struck a good balance with Limbo, though there are a few cheap kills here and there. A TRULY good puzzle will allow ways to kill you, but will also not let you get trapped if you make a mistake at first. It'd be something where, one mistake, let it slide, but the second one kills you (EG, if you flip that switch you can turn it back, but if you flip the switch AND try to jump to the chain, you're going to die.)

I remember that puzzle. I think I died three times before I cleared the rail.

I don't really care at all for Limbo but I still picked it up when it was released.

Last weekend though a bunch of friends rented a cabin for the weekend up north and I brought my 360. About 4-5 played Limbo together taking turns each time they died, they absolutely loved it. Hell they even finished it, strangely though they didn't really care for Braid.

I absolutely hated the 4th boss in SMB for that exact reason, I did not at any point find it fun.

I'll slap him, but only because Limbo won't come out for the PC.

"The player is my enemy. I try to come up with the most evil, devious tricks I can."

Congratulations you cruel bastard. Limbo has got to be one of the hardest games I have ever played. Yet, I absolutely love the game.

Jeez, I must know how a neglected and abused housewife in a state of self-denial feels.

Puzzles are always a good thing, they make me feel clever and stupid at the same time! *awesomeface*

Limbo 2 please. I loved this game.

 

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